LENTIL, Ervum lens, an annual plant of the same genus with tares (q.v.), a native of the countries near the Meditermnean, and which has been cultivated from the earliest times, yielding an esteemed kind of pulse. The English translation of the Bible is proba bly correct in calling the red pottage with which Jacob purchased Esan's birthright, pot tage bf lentils; the red color bellyg very characteriStic of which is still a very com mon article of food in the east. The lentil is extensively cultivated in the south of Europe, Egypt, and the east, and to some extent in other parts of the world. It has a weak and branching stem, from 6 to 18 in. high, and pinnate leaves with 6 to 8 pair of leaflets, the upper leaves only running into tendrils. The flowers are small, white, lilac, or pale blue, the corolla much concealed by the calyx, which is divided almost to its base into five narrow teeth. The pods are very short and blunt, thin, two-seeded, and smooth; the seeds have the form of a round lens, convex on both sides. There are numerous varieties, having white, brown. and black seeds, which also differ considera bly in size, the greatest diameter of the largest being about equal to that of moderato. sized peas. Lentils are a very nutritive food, containing an uncommonly large amount of nitrogenous substances, and more easily digested &au peas. They have recently
become common in the shops of Britain in a form resembling split peas, and in that of meal (h. farina), which is the basis, if not the whole substance, of revalenta arabica and erralenta, so much advertised as food for dyspeptic patients, at prices greatly exceeding those for which lentil metal can be obtained under its own name. Lentils mixed with peas in the making of pea-soup, greatly diminish its tendency to produce flatu lence. Lentils are also excellent food for horses; and the herbage used as green food for cows. renders them extremely productive of milk. The lentil grows best in it 11:dit and rather soil. In a very rich soil, it produces comparatively few pods. Some of the varieties succeed well even on very poor soils. The whole life of the plant is shorter than that of any other of the leguminowe cultivated in Britain, The seed may be sown in April in the climate of Britain; but although there is nothing in the coldness of the climate to prevent the successful cultivation of lentils it seems to be too moist for them, the ripe or ripening seeds being very apt to be injured by moisture. There is no evident reason, however, why this plant should not be cultivated for green food of cattle.